Post List

  • December 9, 2009
  • 10:41 PM

White Bears – The Paradox of Mental Suppression

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Whatever you do, don’t think of a white bear. Go on, close your eyes, relax, but don’t think of a white bear… So, what happened? Most likely, you were overwhelmed by thoughts of a white bear. This mini-experiment highlights the fascinating paradox of thought suppression. That is, once we explicitly try not to think of [...]... Read more »

Wegner, D., Schneider, D., Carter, S., & White, T. (1987) Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(1), 5-13. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.53.1.5  

  • December 9, 2009
  • 06:12 PM

Could Kepler find something closer to home?

by Niall in we are all in the gutter

You might have heard about Kepler and NASA space mission to find planets around other stars. But recently this paper came out recently showing how it could be used to probe unknown distant reaches of our own solar system.... Read more »

Eran O. Ofek, & Ehud Nakar. (2009) Detectability of Oort cloud objects using Kepler. Submitted to ApJL. arXiv: 0912.0948v1

  • December 9, 2009
  • 01:00 PM

Psychologists find a drug-free way for fears to be unlearned

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

In an exciting breakthrough for psychological science, researchers in the United States have demonstrated a drug-free way to prevent the return of a learned fear. It's hoped the discovery will lead to improved therapeutic techniques for people with phobias or intrusive traumatic memories.Elizabeth Phelps and her colleagues exploited the fact that memories are particularly vulnerable to modification just after they've been recalled. The procedure began with 65 participants learning to fear a colo........ Read more »

D Schiller, M-H Monfils, C Raio, D Johnson, & J LeDoux. (2009) Preventing the return of fear in humans using reconsolidation update mechanisms. Nature. info:/

  • December 9, 2009
  • 12:26 PM

Strike Two

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Another veterinary drug found to be fatal to vultures

... Read more »

Naidoo, V., Wolter, K., Cromarty, D., Diekmann, M., Duncan, N., Meharg, A., Taggart, M., Venter, L., & Cuthbert, R. (2009) Toxicity of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to Gyps vultures: a new threat from ketoprofen. Biology Letters. info:/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0818

  • December 9, 2009
  • 11:28 AM

The Lancet: Active Transportation Could Cut Ischemic Heart Disease Prevalance by 25%

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

With the world's leaders currently meeting in Copenhagen to discuss strategies to reduce climate change, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals, The Lancet, has released a series examining the public health benefits of various strategies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One of these papers focuses on the impact of widespread adoption of active transportation, and the estimated public health benefit is nothing short of astonishing.... Read more »

Wilkinson, P., Smith, K., Davies, M., Adair, H., Armstrong, B., Barrett, M., Bruce, N., Haines, A., Hamilton, I., & Oreszczyn, T. (2009) Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: household energy. The Lancet, 374(9705), 1917-1929. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61713-X  

  • December 9, 2009
  • 10:47 AM

Biofuel’s indirect environmental effects

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Biofuels hold promise for reducing the world’s consumption of unsustainable fossil fuels.  But like any new technology, they come with their own host of issues and problems.  One such problem is the so-called “indirect” effect of biofuels on the landscape and the atmosphere. For example, when farmlands are converted to biofuel crops, the food formerly [...]

... Read more »

Melillo, J., Reilly, J., Kicklighter, D., Gurgel, A., Cronin, T., Paltsev, S., Felzer, B., Wang, X., Sokolov, A., & Schlosser, C. (2009) Indirect Emissions from Biofuels: How Important?. Science, 326(5958), 1397-1399. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180251  

  • December 9, 2009
  • 10:35 AM

Are flu vaccines effective in the elderly?

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

There’s been a fair bit of discussion online about the new study in the British Medical Journal1  throwing doubt on Tamiflu’s effectiveness against influenza.  (If you haven’t already seen this, see the Avian Flu Diary for an excellent summary of the situation, and an update here.2 Also see the CDC’s recommendations for antivirals here.)

There’s a [...]... Read more »

  • December 9, 2009
  • 10:31 AM

Conclusion: Darwins Dilemma, Creationist Propaganda and Corrupt Christians

by Johnny in Ecographica

According to “many published scientists,” there is a “story being told by Darwinists” that DNA and genetics play a role in evolutionary development, protein synthesis and the ontogeny of the physical characteristics displayed by animals. In hopes of edifying the masses of wayward “Darwinists,” these same “many published scientists” point out in Darwin’s Dilemma that DNA lacks the potency and mechanical know-how required to undertake these tasks. In actuality - according to “m........ Read more »

  • December 9, 2009
  • 09:30 AM

Ocean rigs as vectors for entire communities of invasive species

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Scientists have long recognized marine transport as a vector for exotic species invasions. But relatively little attention has been given to the transport of semi-submersible rigs - the installations that are used for oil drilling...... Read more »

Wanless, R., Scott, S., Sauer, W., Andrew, T., Glass, J., Godfrey, B., Griffiths, C., & Yeld, E. (2009) Semi-submersible rigs: a vector transporting entire marine communities around the world. Biological Invasions. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-009-9666-2  

  • December 9, 2009
  • 08:08 AM

Testosterone, Aggression... Confusion

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Breaking news from the BBC -Testosterone link to aggression 'all in the mind' Work in Nature magazine suggests the mind can win over hormones... Testosterone induces anti-social behaviour in humans, but only because of our own prejudices about its effect rather than its biological activity, suggest the authors. The researchers, led by Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, said the results suggested a case of "mind over matter" with the brain overriding body chemistry. "Whe........ Read more »

  • December 9, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Thinking about electric vehicles

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Electric vehicles reduce noise and local air pollution, such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and ground-level ozone, but do they simply relocate the carbon tire-tracks to fossil-fired power stations or are there benefits on the global scale?
Fundamentally, an electric engine can achieve 85 to 90% energy conversion efficiency, which contrasts starkly with the internal combustion [...]Thinking about electric vehicles is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »

Åsgeir Helland. (2009) Well-to-wheel CO2 analysis of electric and ICE vehicles: are global CO2 emission reductions possible?. Int. J. Global Warming, 1(4), 432-442. info:/

  • December 9, 2009
  • 07:45 AM

Tip of the Week: GRAIL for prioritizing SNPs

by Mary in OpenHelix

Perusing my copy of Nature Genetics last week, I was flipping through the pages and noticed an unusual graphic.  I looked at it a little closer and was convinced it was one of the Spirographs that I used to make as a kid.  (Remember those? I always liked that….)  I looked a little bit closer and realized it was somewhat more informative than the Spirographs I used to draw.  This represented the relationships between genes, based on the literature.  Hmmm….how did they do this, ex........ Read more »

Raychaudhuri, S., Thomson, B., Remmers, E., Eyre, S., Hinks, A., Guiducci, C., Catanese, J., Xie, G., Stahl, E., Chen, R.... (2009) Genetic variants at CD28, PRDM1 and CD2/CD58 are associated with rheumatoid arthritis risk. Nature Genetics, 41(12), 1313-1318. DOI: 10.1038/ng.479  

Medland, S., Nyholt, D., Painter, J., McEvoy, B., McRae, A., Zhu, G., Gordon, S., Ferreira, M., Wright, M., & Henders, A. (2009) Common Variants in the Trichohyalin Gene Are Associated with Straight Hair in Europeans. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 85(5), 750-755. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.10.009  

  • December 9, 2009
  • 07:32 AM

Breaking the waves – conservation conundrum of bioshields

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

Today’s post covers a neat little review just published online in Conservation Letters by Feagin and colleagues entitled Shelter from the storm? Use and misuse of coastal vegetation bioshields for managing natural disasters. I’m covering this for three reasons: (1) it’s a great summary and wake-up call for those contemplating changing coastal ecosystems in the [...]... Read more »

Feagin, R., Mukherjee, N., Shanker, K., Baird, A., Cinner, J., Kerr, A., Koedam, N., Sridhar, A., Arthur, R., Jayatissa, L.... (2009) Shelter from the storm? Use and misuse of coastal vegetation bioshields for managing natural disasters. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00087.x  

  • December 9, 2009
  • 07:02 AM

On Public Relations

by Richard Grant in Confessions of a (former) Lab Rat

Regular listeners will remember the Science Online London gathering back in August. The day before, Mendeley hosted a pre-conference ‘fringe’ event, organized by Jenny. It turned out to be quite a wild evening, and there is video evidence of shenanigans.
One thing I remember clearly (some of you might be surprised I remember anything from that evening, but anyway) is David Colquhoun getting a tad rabid about PR. The gist was that science doesn’t need PR, it’s a w........ Read more »

  • December 9, 2009
  • 06:00 AM

Fouled ship hulls not a big risk to freshwater systems

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

So with all the depressing studies about maritime vessels as a vector for invasive species, new research in the journal Diversity and Distributions offers up some relatively good news about transport in the Great Lakes...... Read more »

  • December 9, 2009
  • 02:25 AM

Empathy for the Mentally Ill in Medical Education

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Empathy is an important asset for a doctor. This ability to appreciate patients’ emotions and express this emotional awareness improves clinical outcomes, professional satisfaction, and patient adherence to medical recommendations, and is believed to significantly improve patient satisfaction. More on empathy and what it is can be read here
There is a significant decline in empathy [...]

Related posts:Empathy during Medical Education There is a significant decline in empathy occurs during......... Read more »

  • December 8, 2009
  • 11:14 PM

Hammer Time

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

Every time you see me that Hammer’s just so hype
I’m dope on the floor and I’m magic on the mic
Now why would I ever stop doing this
With others makin’ records that just don’t hit
I toured around the world from London to the Bay
It’s Hammer Go, Hammer MC Hammer, Yo Hammer
And the rest can go and [...]... Read more »

McComb, D., Tricas, T., & Kajiura, S. (2009) Enhanced visual fields in hammerhead sharks. Journal of Experimental Biology, 212(24), 4010-4018. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.032615  

  • December 8, 2009
  • 10:26 PM

Amyloid: Junk That Builds Up Between the Cells

by Reason in Fight Aging!

As we get older, many different types of errant and unwanted proteins, the chemical byproducts of metabolism, build up and accumulate between our cells. Collectively these are known as forms of amyloid, a term that might be familiar to you in connection with Alzheimer's disease, but there are many other types of amyloid beyond that implicated in the destruction that Alzheimer's brings to the brain. For example, the work of the Supercentenarian Research Foundation implicates a different form of a........ Read more »

Xue, W., Hellewell, A., Gosal, W., Homans, S., Hewitt, E., & Radford, S. (2009) Fibril Fragmentation Enhances Amyloid Cytotoxicity. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284(49), 34272-34282. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.049809  

  • December 8, 2009
  • 10:08 PM

Cardiovascular Fitness is Linked to Intelligence (in Young Men...Young Swedish Men...and Lab Mice)

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

It's ok already! I will lace up my running shoes: First a University of Princeton team shows that exercise lets lab rats produce neurons with improved stress response (i.e. they don't respond), and now a group of Swedish neuroscientists is telling us that improved cardiovascular fitness actually makes young men smarter...... Read more »

Aberg MA, Pedersen NL, Torén K, Svartengren M, Bäckstrand B, Johnsson T, Cooper-Kuhn CM, Aberg ND, Nilsson M, & Kuhn HG. (2009) Cardiovascular fitness is associated with cognition in young adulthood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 19948959  

  • December 8, 2009
  • 07:40 PM

The genetics of both host and pathogen matter in antibiotic-refractory Lyme arthritis

by Microbe Fan in Spirochetes Unwound

The arthritic form of Lyme disease was first reported in the 1970s by Allen Steere, who described the condition in a group of children (and a few adults) residing in and around the town of Lyme, Connecticut. Lyme arthritis can strike when Borrelia burgdorferi introduced into the skin by an Ixodes tick burrows into deeper tissues and ends up in the joints, usually the knee. Swelling results from an inflammatory response to B. burgdorferi residing in the joint. Lyme arthritis is treated with anti........ Read more »

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